Strips and Strings…..

When the man about the place and I had been married a year, he decided he would like to go back to grad school. We did some planning and plotting, and eventually decided to move to the state we live in now. There would be family (grandparents and aunts and cousins) nearby, there was plenty of industry for a job when he was finished, and it seemed like a good place to move to and set down roots.

We were moving ourselves in August, right before our second anniversary. We had bought and fixed up our first house. We managed to sell it easily, and we spent all of July getting ready to move. I was off for the summer, being a teacher, and so I had plenty of time to sort and pack and get ready to leave. I knew the townhouse we were planning to move into was short on space and therefore a practical thing to dispose of would be my collection of fabric scraps.

I sewed my first dress when I was 13 and wore it to my first day of school. I had made all of my clothes in college, and my wedding dress. I also quilted. So, I had a collection of scraps. I needed to do something with them.

My younger sister and I spent some time together that summer, since I was getting ready to move so far away. She wanted to learn to sew, so I decided to help her learn to sew and get rid of my scraps in one fell swoop. I decided to teach her to make a string quilt.

Strips and strings, cut in any width, and in any color combination, get sewn to some sort of background. We used old magazine…layering one piece of fabric over another, stitching the length, pressing it back and then putting on another strip or string. These rectangles could then be cut down into other shapes, or left whole, and stitched together in a scrappy quilt.

I don’t know if she ever finished the quilt. She made dozens of blocks at my house on my machine, and then got her own. When the man about the place and I drove away to our new state in our rented Uhaul, she had her blocks, and a large bag of scraps to keep going with.

I have since acquired new scraps… new clothes for me or the kids, new fabrics given to me at holidays from family, and even scrap sharing from others that know I like to sew. It is time to start reducing the stash.

A few weeks ago I managed to finally make a tea cozy for my tea pot…with strips and strings. Mostly strips.

New tea cozy
New tea cozy

On weekend mornings when I have papers to grade, I like to have tea with me, plenty of it, but I needed a cozy for my favorite pot. So I took some bits of leftovers, stitched them together willy nilly, added batting and a backing and made it up  as I went along. I was still getting used to my blue sewing machine, but it quilted it just lovely.


So, I think there will be strip/string piecing in my future.. it is such a fast and easy way to use up the leftovers, no matter how big or small.

For some other string pieced examples: click here.

A wonderful tutorial of string piecing: click here. She mentions phone books as a source for foundation. I found leftover magazines also worked well. The stitching perforates the shiny paper well enough that the paper removes easily when done.

And one more string pieced link: click here.

I have an entire pile of strings and strips waiting for me…


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